Killer's Choice (87th Precinct, #5)
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Killer's Choice (87th Precinct #5)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  598 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Someone killed Annie Boone, but was she an innocent victim or the target of a hit? As Detectives Carella and Kling of the 87th precinct pick up the pieces of her interupted life, they move relentlessly closer to some answers yet farther from others. Struggling to find the weak link, the detectives find themselves facing a cold, hard truth they'd prefer not to know.
Paperback, 204 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Thomas & Mercer (first published 1957)
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Death knocked a man down. Death stole a man's dignity. A dead man didn't care whether or not his hair was parted. A dead girl didn't worry about whether or not her slip was showing. The postures of death managed to simplify a human being to an angular mound of fleshy rubble. And so looking at what had once been a woman - a woman who smiled prettily, and kissed her lover, and adjusted her stockings, and applied lipstick with utmost feminine care - looking at what had once been warm and alive, Car...more
James Thane
This is the book in which Ed McBain adds Cotton Hawes to the cast of detectives who populate the 87th Precinct. As Hawes comes on board, a young woman named Annie Boone is shot and killed while working as a clerk in a liquor store. The store is then totally trashed and the owner seems more concerned about the damage to his stock than the death of his employee.

Annie, a divorced mother of a young daughter, seems to be something of a chameleon. Virtually everyone that the detectives interview has a...more
Killer's Choice has a couple of notable landmarks which include the last appearance by hard-as-nails cop, Detective Roger Havilland. He's found in the broken remains of a grocery store window after an apparent hold-up, fatally injured by a shard of glass. Steve Carella follows a lead to track down the killer but is joined by the newly transferred Cotton Hawes. Carella soon discovers that Hawes is having trouble adapting from the more genteel surroundings of his previous posting compared to the m...more
Gayle Francis Moffet
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book jumps between two unconnected murders. First, Annie Boone was gunned down while working the counter at a liqueur store. The detectives of the Eight-Seven track down and interview many of her friends, relatives, her ex-husband, and her six-year-old daughter. These many shades of Annie: an intellectual, a dunce, a loving wife, a homewrecker, a lush, a fun social-drinker, a polite and proper girlfriend, a loose and adulterous woman. As the investigation drags on, detectives Meyer Meyer and...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Before The Bill there was Z Cars, and before Z Cars there was Dixon of Dock Green. Across the Atlantic, before The Wire there was the still-missed Hill Street Blues, and before Hill Street Blues there was Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, print rather than pixels but the genealogy was the same.

If it is still something of a shock to discover that Killer's Choice, the fifth in the 87th Precinct series, was first published more than fifty years ago, there are clues. Not least when a young woman is innoce...more
The young woman named Annie lay in a pool of blood and liquor. Shot in the chest four times and all the stock smashed on top of it, as the cops of the 87th begin investigating it, an odd picture begins to build of the victim.

Divorced, in her early thirties with a daughter, depending on who you spoke with, she was a virtuous woman, a mistress, a drunkard, a teetotaler, smart, dumb, well read and a ballet goer, a pool hustler. Her ex-husband spoke more highly of her than her own mother. The mother...more
PROTAGONIST: The 87th precinct
SETTING: "Isola", NY
WHY: Annie Boone was found murdered on a barroom floor, and it seems that almost every cop in the 87th precinct is involved in the investigation. It seems that everyone they interview paints a different picture of Annie, from saint to sinner, and it's difficult to get a handle on exactly who she was and who may have wanted her dead. I thought the killer was a bit of a stretch, but enjoyed the portrayals of the members of the...more
In this short novel (it can't be much more than 40,000 words), the boys 'n' gals of the grand old eight-seven -- just boys, in fact, back in 1958 when this appeared -- are confronted by two murder cases. In most modern crime novels, these two would eventually prove to be related. McBain's style, though, is to keep them separate, the unification of the narrative coming instead from the overlap of personnel investigating the crimes. In terms of the series' story arc, Killer's Choice is significant...more
In this short novel (it can't be much more than 40,000 words), the boys 'n' gals of the grand old eight-seven -- just boys, in fact, back in 1958 when this appeared -- are confronted by two murder cases. In most modern crime novels, these two would eventually prove to be related. McBain's style, though, is to keep them separate, the unification of the narrative coming instead from the overlap of personnel investigating the crimes. In terms of the series' story arc, Killer's Choice is significant...more
Christine Blachford
Another edition in the 87th Precinct series and this time we've got a murder taking place with several suspects but no clear evidence to support any of their cases. They all have alibis but one of them must have done it! There's also the death of one of the squad members to deal with, with surprisingly little of the private lives of the officers in the story this time.

I'm still really enjoying these books though, they're such short and simple reads, a quick dip into the grimy but ultimately wort...more
It's been quite a while since I read any of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books. This one, Killer's Choice, is #5. All of the ones I had previously read were much later in the series, numbering in the #30's and #40's. In this book, you can see that Ed is still developing his famous writing style. Additionally, he is still bringing together the detectives who make up the 87th squad. In this book, he introduces Cotton Hawes, and kills off Roger Havilland, whose murder must be solved by the squad(on th...more
#5 in the 87th Precinct police procedural series set in fictional Isola (modeled after New York.) Published the year I was born, some people would call this book “dated,” which, admittedly it is. But it’s a wonderful time capsule too, and I have to wonder if McBain deliberately set out to accomplish that, if he had any idea how long-lasting his series would be.

The opening paragraph lets you know you’ve gone back in time as it talks about “eight dollar Scotch and twenty-five-cent wine” bottles b...more
Simon Evans
In a series as long as Ed McBain's 87th Precinct there are bound to be highs and lows. In this fifth novel he really his his stride.

The bull pen sees an ever-changing roster of detectives throughout the series with a few favourites starting for the whole ride. In this book we lose one and gain another soon-to-be favourite in Cotton Hawes.

The story is a simple one and some readers will solve the murder before the detectives but the evocative language and attention to detail keep the pages turning...more
KILLER’S CHOICE (Police Procedural) – VG
Ed McBain – 6th in series
The Armchair Detective Library, 1991 (Reprint from 1958) – Hardcover
The detectives of the 87th precinct are looking for the killer of one of their own, have gained a new member of the squad, Cotton Hawes, and looking for the person who murdered a young woman.
*** This edition is particularly enjoyable as it includes an introduction by the author talking about introducing Hawes to the series. Reading the 87th precinct books is always...more
Julian King
As said elsewhere, yes: short 'n' snappy. Does the job. It's effective, efficient, even entertaining. One can imagine the author as extremely good company: the writing comes easily, the story rattles along, he clearly writes as he speaks - fluently and amusingly ... but perhaps not very profoundly. And this is now a period piece, without quite yet achieving 'historical novel' status. The milieu of late-fifties NYC seems dated, and its inhabitants with it. There are universals in police procedura...more
Still enjoying this series primarily for it's 1950's setting. These are easy to read, fast moving and generally enjoyable.
Red Heaven
Maybe the first true clunker in the series. McBain just isn't sharp here; the plot is not particularly interesting, and the humor is forced at times to the point of self-parody. Notable for Cotton Hawes' first appearance, and we get two separate explanations of the white streak in his hair, just in case we forgot from the first time around. The identity of the killer is a little bit of a surprise, and some chicanery is usefully employed in the committing of the crime - something that just would...more
I'm reading Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series in order, and loving it. Each novel stands alone as a fine, terse police procedural, but builds on the last in subtle ways. You don't need to have read the first four books in the series to enjoy this one, but if you have, the characters may start to feel like old friends. Or, at the very least, wiseacres you work with and don't mind seeing every day. This series is, after all, about working stiffs just doing their jobs, which I prefer to more fancifu...more
Yes, as you may remember from my "Stephen King" phase, I tend to get obsessive when it comes to authors. I generally want to read everything they've done in one go, and so I get into certain ruts until I get sick of them (again, see my "Stephen King" phase).

I wasn't too impressed with book #2, and I couldn't find #4, but #5 (Killer's Choice) seemed a step up in quality. There are old faces in the squad room, a few new faces, and two mysteries to solve. All told, an enjoyable read.
Patricia Brennan
my one of the author's best novels... but a good read.
Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books are really worthwhile. They are perhapd best described as pure police procedurals, with a rotating cast of characters, all set in a mythical city that is obviously based on New York.

This particular book is still early in the series, but the writing is strong, and McBain has a great way with words. He creates believable characters, good action, and memorable storylines.

I look forward to the next installment!
Standard fare from the 87th which follows two unrelated cases, which I assumed would somehow intersect. Here, McBain introduces detective Cotton Hawes to the series after the demise of Havilland, and gives Bert Kling a lot to do. (Is it just me or does anyone else have trouble picturing the Kling character? His description is always Robert Redford-like or something similar but his name always throws me off to a much slighter, wimpier character.)
This one bounced here and there, but very enjoyable and something I would read again. A woman is found dead in the liquor store where she worked. Most of the stock around her has been bashed. So, the main case is searching for her killer.

I listened to the audiobook by Dick Hill. He narrates this much differently than the other guy who taped it years ago, so it took awhile to get used to. He does a great job, just different.
Karen Dempsey
Boring! It was a book that you could read and put down whenever you want... the only reason i finished it was to see who killed whom and why. I thought it was going to be good about half way through but the ending came quick and painful, leaving you feeling a little bit cheated. I'm just glad I didn't go out and buy the book, it was a charity sale and that was one left behind!! Enough said!
Oliver Clarke
Another brilliant mystery from McBain, humorous and gripping, once it gets its hooks into you won't be able to stop until you reach the end. It's the first 87th Precinct novel with Cotton Hawes too and McBain has a lot of fun with the character and the interplay with the regulars on the 87th beat.
Charles Eldredge
As always the 87th continues to please!
I'm glad the version I had included an author's note about why he added this new character, Cotton. It's an interesting tidbit, and helps understand perhaps why he made him such a prick at first. Cotton notwithstanding, a swift and enjoyable read.
I really enjoyed this 1950's American mystery. It had just the right combo of mystery and character development of the cops who solve the mysteries. It was part of a 3 volume set and I'd like to read more.
Solid McBain. Introduces new character, Cotton Hawes. Steady police procedural. Characters drawn well enough for story. Some action and some surprises. Recommended.
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Ed McBain is a pseudonym of Evan Hunter, who was born and raised as Salvatore Lombino in New York City, living in East Harlem until the age of 12, at which point his family moved to the Bronx. He attended Olinville Junior High School, then Evander Childs High School, before winning an Art Students League scholarship. Later, he was admitted as an art student at Cooper Union.

Hunter served in the Nav...more
More about Ed McBain...
Cop Hater (87th Precinct #1) Ice (87th Precinct, #36) The Mugger (87th Precinct #2) Let's Hear It For The Deaf Man (87th Precinct, #27) Lady Killer (87th Precinct #8)

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